MKTG 4020 Consumer Behavior Appendix of Assignments Dr. Ross's Class


The project will have four parts, each worth 5% of the course grade. Each assignment should be submitted to the individual assignment box on Blackboard (so I don’t get swamped with a ton of individual DMs with assignments).

Part I) Baseline Customer Analysis of Ad critique – Find a print (digital, non video) ad. It can be for a product, service, or organization—small business or larger corporation. The brand for this ad will be the basis of all four parts to the project. Provide a 200-300 word critique of the ad, centering your critique around the following:

  1. Who is the/an intended target market consumer and how do you conclude this?
  2. What is the message being communicated?
  3. In what ways is the ad communicating the message?
  4. As a consumer, what are your takeaways from the ad?
  5. As a marketer, what are your takeaways from the ad?
  6. How is this advertisement in/effective and why?

Part II) Consumer journey map/Brand Touchpoint Analysis – Using your baseline analysis from part I, create a mini customer journey map around the target market persona you indicated in part I. There are many many ways of formatting consumer journey maps, but at a minimum, at least three (3) stages in the journey need to be mapped. At each stage in the journey, you should be detailing a) a list of appropriate brand touchpoints (eg, digital ad, email contact, SMS contact, app, experiential installation), b) doing (actions), c) thinking (thoughts), and d) feeling (experiences) dimensions need to be mapped across at least three (3) stages in the journey) (4 * 3 = 12 sections).

These are two excellent resources to help you delve into greater detail around what a customer journey map is.

Part III) Brand Touchpoint focusing on Consumer Psychology Influence – Create/conceptualize a touchpoint around the target market persona you indicated in part I and mapped out in part II. This touchpoint may be an ad, but it doesn't have to be an ad. You’ll need to incorporate at least one consumer psychological theory that would aid the consumer’s journey and shifting either their doing, thinking, or feeling. If you are creating a digital ad, you may want to use Canva or Adobe Creative Cloud. With the touchpoint you submit, provide a 200-300 word explanation of the following:

  1. What consumer psychological concept are you employing in your touchpoint?
  2. Where will this touchpoint fit in the stages of your consumer decision map and why?
  3. How should it affect the target consumer’s behavior and why?
  4. What is the expected outcome (next step) for the consumer journey, based on the target customer's interaction with the touchpoint?

Part IV) Brand Touchpoint focusing on Consumer Cultural Influence – Create/conceptualize a different touchpoint around the target market persona you indicated in part I and mapped out in part II. This time, you’ll need to incorporate at least one consumer sociocultural theory or identity concept that would aid the consumer’s journey and shifting either their doing, thinking, or feeling. If you are creating a digital ad, you may want to use Canva or Adobe Creative Cloud. With the touchpoinnt you submit, provide a 200-300 word explanation of the following:

  1. What sociocultural theory or identity are you employing in your touchpoint?
  2. Where will this touchpoint fit in the stages of your consumer decision map and why?
  3. How should it affect the target consumer’s behavior and why?
  4. What is the expected outcome (next step) for the consumer’s journey, based on the target customer's interaction with the touchpoint?

Appendix B: Shoebox Collage Project (15% of course grade)


1) Find a shoebox (or a small, shoebox-sized box). The shoebox will metaphorically symbolize you as an individual consumer.

Example of the shoebox (outside decorations represent external, consumer cultural influences; inside decorations represent internal, psychological/decision making influences)

Bearing in mind the contexts of consumer behavior and decision journeys :

2) Decorate the inside of the box, collage/diorama-style, representing a minimum of 10 specific and unique CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY/DECISION MAKING influences of consumer behavior on your life. Normally, you'd be able to cut out from magazines, newspapers, photos, puff paints, macrame, or whatever other materials you’d like to use to decorate.

  • This means your collage should fully represent various aspects of the course material, as it pertains to you as a consumer. The decoration can be literal or metaphoric.

3) Provide a caption key for each of the influence contents (see my example graphic below).

  • Briefly describe the artifact representing each influence—why did you choose your artifact? What specific CB concepts does it demonstrate? What does it say about you as a consumer? How does it reinforce your decision making processes?
  • Your caption key must also cross-reference book pages and/or slide references and/or article pages. HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT I'D WRITE FOR ONE CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY INFLUENCE:
Prof Ross Example #6) Looking Glass Self (Lecture 13, slides 8-10) is a theory that says consumers imagine how other people see them. I go to the boxing gym because I imagine other people think I'm a little more overweight than I should be. I don't know this for a fact, but I imagine it so. Going to the gym to workout in a manner that makes me feel fit is a behavior that's influenced by my looking glass self.

4) Repeat Steps 2 & 3 for the outside of the box, collage/diorama-style, representing a minimum of 10 specific and unique CONSUMER CULTURAL influences of consumer behavior on your life (again, including the written caption key for the contents.) Again, HERE'S AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT I'D WRITE FOR ONE CONSUMER CULTURE INFLUENCE:

Prof Ross example: #3) Locavore (pg 82-86) - The coupon is for Wilson Farms--a foodstore in Lexington I shop at from time to time. Most of Wilson Farms' meats, dairy, and produce is grown locally, and by shopping there, I'm showing my commitment to buying locally produced and/or sourced products. This is one way to demonstrate the way how sustainable values through local consumption fits my identity through supporting local farmers in my community.

At 15% of the course grade, I’m looking for high quality thought, self-reflection, and thorough written work in your captions (I've posted above 2 examples of a high quality caption that is specific, personal, referenced, and demonstrates how the concept impacts my consumption), as much as I’m looking for creativity. Here are criteria I'm looking for in assessing the grade:

  1. You have an entire semester to think about your influences as we move through the course and develop your key/captions.
  2. Does the box appropriately reflect specific internal influences (psychological) and the other appropriately reflect specific external influences (sociocultural)?
  3. Are the captions thoughtful (though brief)? Are they specific, with the concepts/theories specifically tied to references from the book/slides/articles? Or, is are they just a simple minimalist list with little-to-no explanation of how the concept/theory relates to you and the collage item (like the graphic below)? The latter will not earn you a high mark on this project.
Remember dioramas from elementary school? The shoebox is a metaphoric one!

Appendix C: Team TCR Public Service Announcement (PSA) (15% of course grade)


This assignment will allow you to practice your oral, visual, and team communication skills and should challenge you to think more deeply and broadly about concepts/models/theories related to consumer behavior. Instead of doing a "traditional" presentation to the class, the PSA can be a bit more creative of a taped understanding.

Using the transformative consumer research theme your group is covering in your minipapers (see Appendix D), you'll be taking what you've researched on the topic and its ties to consumer behavior and create an effective 2-5 minute video public service announcement (or advertisement or both). A successful PSA should not only effectively make the link between consumer insights, consumer psychology, consumer culture, and practice, but also reach a defined target consumer market.

Tools you could use to create this ad include OBS Studio, Canva’s Video Maker, or Adobe Creative Cloud Video Editor (or you could stitch together 8 Instagram Stories or 2 TikToks... whatever you video creator you choose to use--this is not a video production class). I've also had students interspersing stock footage from sites like Storyblocks or Pexels. The PSA should consider the following:

  1. Identifies the transformative consumer issue
  2. Identifies the target market for the PSA
  3. Uses research to demonstrate how the problem could be solved through introducing a new product or service or behavioral change in a public service announcement that improves well-being (this will require some creative thinking).
  4. Employs creative messaging that "reaches" the target market to affect behavioral outcomes

Accompanying the PSA should be a 200-300 word writeup that identifies the key theories/findings and any relevant business examples that justify the creativity, messaging, and effectiveness of your PSA. Please post the PSA to YouTube and DM me the unlisted link (unless you make it public), along with your team writeup.

Appendix D: Transformative Consumer Research Team Minipapers (30%, plus 5% peer evaluation)


Teams will select a TCR-related consumer issue and research and write two minipapers on this issue. The purpose of these minipapers is for you to apply the consumer behavior topics covered in this course to a real-world marketing problem/phenomenon and thoroughly research this issue. Rather than have you shoulder the burden of the papers yourselves, I’m having you work in teams. The assignment includes two minipapers (each minipaper should be about 1500-1700 words (~5-7 pgs) excluding referenced). These minipapers will force your team to investigate consumer issues, analyze these issues through the lenses of consumer behavior concepts, and make specific recommendations based on your analyses. Papers should be submitted via Slack DM.

Please recall that the overarching theme of the project is “transformative consumer research,” with a mission of enhancing the well-being of people/society. I encourage your team to pick a topic that challenges you to assess consumer behavior from a new perspective. Some broad TCR issues I might present you with as options include:

  • Health and addiction (including substance abuse, gambling, tech)
  • Financial well-being (e.g., credit card debt)
  • Consumer Privacy (e.g., data collection and use)
  • Multiculturalism/Diversity in the Marketplace (e.g., race in the marketplace)
  • Health/nutrition
  • Health/fitness
  • Sustainability (e.g., overconsumption, responsible consumption)
  • Consumer education (children/youth)
  • Consumer safety
  • Vulnerable groups (poor, elderly, illiterate, etc.)

Minipaper 1: Background and Research on Benefits/Barriers

  1. Introduction
  2. Brief Description of the Phenomenon/Experience of Interest - You should identify the key marketing phenomenon you will address in your project. Identifying examples of the problem will help you focus your project. You may use examples – photographs, commercials, promotions, etc.
  3. Brief Review of Prior Research - You should identify the key consumer behavior issues, concepts, and so on that we’ve discussed in class that are relevant to the marketing problem you have identified. It’s important to be quite specific in your problem definition (e.g., are the issues related to consumer attitudes, cognitive decision making, or perception and why?).
  4. Primary Research Identifying Benefits/Barriers to Behavior - After gaining a secondary research perspective, you should be completing at least one form of primary data research (personal interviews, surveys, observations, etc.) that will ultimately enhance your support your strategies in Minipaper 2.

Before doing primary research, you'll want to review secondary research from business articles in popular press and library databases or Google Scholar, including marketing/consumer journals. Consumer behavior articles may be found in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Journal of Consumer Affairs, Journal of Macromarketing, or Consumption, Markets, & Culture. As well, you may find industry reports from companies like Deloitte or PwC or so on.

Minipaper 2: Marketing/Non-Profit/Consumer-Oriented Strategies

  1. Psychological Factors
  2. Cultural Factors
  3. Strategies for Positive Market Changes

Having done researched some brief background on the topic and done some original primary research, you'll want to use that to develop strategies for positive market change (that's the whole point of transformative consumer research: individual- and societal-well-being). This minipaper should leverage theories we've discussed to develop strategic marketing recommendations that you would make to organizations and consumers to address the issue. For instance, how would you innovate a product in a way that maximizes impact given what you know about attention and perception? How would you promote a service, given the level of involvement a target market has in your service and the decision-making process your target consumers follow? How will a marketer's message differ between two different identity groups? Consider your analyses from minipaper 1 and elements of the marketing 4 P’s when making your recommendations.

Each minipaper should probably consist of an intro, conclusion, and solid research in the middle parts, as I highly recommend starting with a topic sentence outline and going back to the old five-paragraph essay format. There's a reason why it's so successful that they teach it in elementary school. Five solid, well researched paragraphs and the paper is nearly done! And if you use topic sentences to write an outline, you can then fill in with the research after!

Use the hamburger method... use the caterpillar method... either way, it helps structure a logical argument.

Each minipaper should be fully referenced with citations (footnotes is fine, style format is up to you, should be consistent). Any fact, figure, idea, etc., that a reasonable person would not be assumed to know (ie, common knowledge), should be cited. If you need help citing, please refer to Purdue OWL or DM me.